My enormous thanks to LoveReading for an advanced reader copy of Florence Grace by Tracy Rees in return for an honest review. Florence Grace is published by Quercus on 30th June 2016 and is available to order on Amazon and directly from Quercus.
Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It’s a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. But when Florrie is fourteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie’s life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.
My Review of Florence Grace
Living a wild existence with Nan, Florrie Buckley’s glimpse into a grander life is about to become a reality.
I so loved Amy Snow by Tracy Rees that I felt almost afraid to read Florence Grace in case I was disappointed, but I honestly think I have enjoyed it even more than Tracy Rees’s debut. You can read my review of Amy Snow here.
I just adored this story. From the opening line to the last word I felt transported to the world of Florrie Buckley as she transforms into Florence Grace.
The quality of writing is perfect. Just right to convey the era of the mid C19th with its fashions and conventions, the language is still totally accessible to a modern readership so that reading the story is completely effortless. I found the descriptions wonderfully balanced to give not just setting, but to provide layer upon layer of character too. Tracy Rees has a cinematic ease to her writing that conjures up the qualities of a Cornish landscape and the contrasting wealth and squalor of London with every phrase. The variety of sentence structure gives a gorgeous flow to the story and draws the reader into the events.
This is most definitely a character driven novel and Florence Grace is an absolute triumph. Tracy Rees somehow manages to convey Florence’s life, emotions and the passion of her love with such clarity and realism that I felt as if I had become Florence and wasn’t just reading about her. It was as if I felt the pain and joy she felt too. I am certain Florence’s first person account helped make me feel this way. There’s almost a sense of the primeval in Florence. She’s certainly no insipid wallflower!
I think having a relatively constrained palette of characters means that each is completely knowable in all their faults and human frailties. This makes for such satisfying reading. I especially liked the troubled and imperfect Turlington Grace and the somewhat mystical Old Rilla.
In a sense, the plot is relatively simple with few major events, but Tracy Rees rather explores the nature of identity, what makes us who we are and how we find a sense of belonging. Above all else though, she conveys an understanding of what it is to love – even when that love is out of our control. Florence Grace is a fabulous tale of identity, longing and love with a heroine for everyone to believe in. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
You can follow Tracy Rees on Twitter (and I think you should!)